Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Look What I Found in the Bottom of My Teacup, Ma!

lithophane image on ebay

examples above from Helen's Lithophane collection

I never heard of lithophanes before! I came across these unique curiosities while surfing for interesting old Japanese teacups. There is a whole page of porcelain dragonware teacups on ebay with lithophanes in the bottom, little pictures that are only visible when you hold them up to the light. Helen of "Helen's Lithophanes" explains what they are on her website homepage. Click on the flags at the bottom to view lithophanes from Japan, Germany, France, England, Hungary, Sweden, and America. Note: they aren't always found in teacups.
Here's Helen's Japanese page: LINK
Nick's collection of royal and historical portraits. LINK

By the way, I am currently painting an "ema" (wooden votive/prayer plaque) for an upcoming benefit art auction for Japan (April 3). More about that soon!


Steve Lodefink said...

Cool find!

These teacups were the inspiration for my plastic CNC skull carving:


Amy Crehore said...

After I found the cups, I did a search and saw that you had made one of these!

Christina Conway said...

A friend of mine has one of these teacups, really incredible. Thanks for the ema mention. As soon as I have things more solidified I will send a write-up.

Amy Crehore said...

My Japanese friend on twitter says these cups are not that old and probably made for tourists (in another country). She has never seen one in her flea market over there. But, they are still cool and there are many older European versions of lithophanes on the link. There were hand-held fans, too, that you held up to the light.
I will blog the ema auction.